Quote Originally Posted by georg16nik View Post
@benjiboy & philosomatographer,
SLR wide angles are mediocre compared to RF ones.
The SLR ones use more complex optical scheme, more surfaces for the light to pass through, while the RF ones are simpler, easier to correct, perform better, have less distortion and so on.
RF can have 100% or more viewfinder coverage, while with SLR that is a challenge if You want a smaller body.
There is no SLR smaller than Leica I or II or even III*.. even the M bodies and lenses are tractors compared to the original Leica I system.
There is no 50mm SLR lens that is more compact than Leitz Elmar 1:3,5/50 and perform so good.
There is no wide angle SLR lens that is more compact than KMZ Russar MR-2 1:5,6/20, let alone being even close to its optical performance.

As generalisations, most of what you say is true. I can point out some exceptions to you (like how all current Leica wide angles are, in fact, retrofocus just like their SLR brethren... like how an Olympus OM Zuiko 21mm f/2.0 is actually smaller and a whole stop faster than the Leica M 21mm f/2.8, that composing a 21mm image through a separate viewfinder is guesswork at best, etc. Rangefinder wide angles are simplistic because the cannot be used for the interesting compositional possibilities that SLR wides can. The do not have to be designed to perform well at a focus distance of 20cm, etc) But I don't think it'd matter to you... Point is, for every problem in SLR land, a rangefinder seems to offer a solution, and for every problem in rangefinder land, SLRs seem to offer a solution. I certainly don't limit myself to just one or the other - just use both!

The all-time highest-performing 50mm is a rangefinder lens, yes (the Heliar 50mm f/3.5 by all accounts) but it's like 2% better than the OM Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 Macro, and a heck of a lot less versatile. When you're shooting teeny 35mm negatives, how much do these differences really matter? If one really cares, shoot a compact medium format camera instead. Now there rangefinders really DO make sense. An M3 actually makes so little sense these days, but it's such a nice piece of engineering, I keep on using mine...